Whitman County Gazette - Serving Whitman County since 1877

By Victoria Fowler
Gazette Reporter 

Mobile health clinic plans to sweep county


January 23, 2020

The Mobile Medical Unit will be making its rounds in Whitman County the last week of January and in the last week of March. On Tuesday, Jan. 28, the clinic will be at LaCrosse Library from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. and the Endicott Library from 1 to 5 p.m. On Wednesday, Jan. 29, the clinic will be in Garfield from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Currently there are no scheduled visits for February, but the clinic will be making visits in Steptoe 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. and Uniontown 2 to 6 p.m. on March 25. On March 26, the clinic will be in Colton from 2:30 to 6:30 p.m.

This is the first year of the Mobile Medical Unit. It will be a new service to those in Whitman County.

The mobile unit is made up of three different sections, with two exam areas on either side of the bus and patient intake, lavatory and blood draw station in the center.

The full name of the mobile clinic is the William A. Crosetto Mobile Health Care Unit. The name came from William A. Crosetto who was a rancher and Washington State University supporter. When Crosetto passed away he left a bequest of $1 million to build the mobile unit and support operating expenses for 10 years.

“Crosetto wanted to make sure that people in rural areas were able to see a doctor and receive medical care in their community,” said Dr. Luis Manriquez, assistant clinical professor at the WSU Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine.

Manriquez said that the health care unit will provide both comprehensive primary care and preventive health services.

“The goal of the unit is to overcome barriers to care due to travel and see patients in areas without local medical services and connect patients back to existing clinical resources for follow up,” Manriquez said.

According to the mobile health care website, all 39 counties in Washington have a primary care shortage and 38 out of 39 counties have a mental health care shortage. Along with these shortages, there is on average one doctor per every 1,000 people in rural communities.

Deanna Claybaugh, LPN/BA with the Whitman County Health Department said primary care will be available for all age groups.

“My understanding is they take all insurances, private and Medicare and Medicaid,” Claybaugh said.

Manriquez said insurance will be billed, but nobody will be turned away if they can’t pay.

“Patients without insurance will have their visits written off as charity care,” Manriquez said.

Since the mobile unit is just beginning, not all services will be provided at first, but are expected to be in full swing by the end of April.

“We will also be developing inter-professional educational opportunities and services to train WSU health sciences students and provide exposure to rural communities to encourage them to return to work in rural areas,” Manriquez said.


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